Google’s new “Hold Command + Q to quit” Chrome feature on Mac

It boggles my mind why Google has added a new but unwanted feature that is a default behavior on Chrome browsers. It disrupts the flow of quitting an app that is a standard across all Mac applications.

There’s just no benefit to this approach. Even Google has not come up with a reason for this feature. No explanation, scenario, or information of this significant change whatsoever.

Is it an attempt to stiff Apple’s upper lip? If so that’s a really stupid move because the real victims are all Mac Chrome users that are impacted by this new procedure, not Apple. It really feels like an unseasoned developer added this hodgepodge feature, most likely an inexperienced intern.

Mac users are used to simply do Command + Q keypress to quit an app. The point of any GUI is to have a uniform behavior for its apps and OS (which includes window behavior that is now impacted by Google).

If apps start say requiring Command + A through Z to quit, the Mac app ecosystem will be sorely irate.

Thankfully you can go to the Chrome menu and uncheck “Warn Before Quitting” to remove this stupid feature.

If such a stupid feature passes muster by Google’s Product Management team, that really speaks of a low calibre team (please read “low” as stupid).

Amazon Prime – isn’t it now really just Free Shipping no matter how long it takes?

I’ve been noticing how Amazon Prime has changed whether recently or have for a while I don’t recall.

Amazon Prime has really been ubiquitously associated with Free 2 Day shipping. No matter where you are, no matter how many goods you ordered, 1, 2, 3, 5, etc. I suppose there’s an upper limit somewhere. Well, there are exceptions to the 2 day delivery, but for the most part, metropolis and goods are within a 2 day delivery reach.

It turns out there are some fine prints now that delivery times are dependent on where the goods and the destinations are. Those factors may cause the delivery time to exceed 2 days.

In my case a very simple can of “Scotchgard Water and Sun Shield with UV Protector, 1 Can 10.5 Ounces” will arrive Friday Oct 5th, 2018. However, it was a Prime goods and supposedly guaranteed to deliver in 2 days. It was ordered Oct 1st. So Oct 3rd, no?

Well, no, it turns out it is still free shipping but the delivery date is now Friday Oct 5. 4 days later from the order date.

So Amazon, what else might you have changed? Breaking contracts as you slip in these changes?

The solution for me is simple, filter and choose the “Get it today”, or “Get it tomorrow” options for shipping. I now never filter by “Prime” anymore. You never know when you’re gonna get your order.

Another solution for me is to buy locally than wait for Amazon to deliver in 5 days. I can just go take my car and get it in 10 minutes. Hey now, isn’t buying locally Amazon’s market to take away? Its competitor? The reason many small stores go under and close?

For a particular Prime order, I now still have an order in transit for 2 months still out there somewhere. I think it’s time I pulled the plug on that one and let Amazon and the seller figure out what the heck happened ūüôā This is nuts.

 

How to enable startup chime sound in Mac OSX El Capitan

OK, OK, I’m late to the upgrade party. But if it works just fine for me why upgrade?

Well in my case I needed to run Quicken for Mac which requires El Capitan <grumble, grumble>

In fact, El Capitan runs faster than Yosemite, so I’m thankful. But not for the Disk Util app, that’s a severe downgrade from Yosemite’s.

Most of all, they turned off the startup chime. I use that when walking away waiting for the 5 minute boot cycle (I wonder if there’s a boot argument to make that shorter ūüôā

Anyway, I wanted this article available as at least one place where someone can google and find a way to enable or turn on the chime for El Capitan.

It’s pretty easy:

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Enter the following command

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolumeDB=”%d0″
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=”%100″

Exit/quit from Terminal and reboot, if all went well the chime should sound on startup!

Amateur (Ham) Radio (Yaesu FT-991A) in Digital Mode (FLDigi) on Mac OSX (Yosemite)

I picked up transceiver radios several years as a new hobby. Well OK the year was 2008. The impetus was really the Katrina storm event, seeing all communications grid disrupted except for radio and satellite communications.

I have no satellite equipment and thought that would be too specialized and limited in usage. I wanted a general purpose way to communicate during normal and emergency times that could reach most of the population in the USA. Naturally, I gravitated to Amateur Radio, commonly known as Ham Radio. Ham Radios can communicate globally using Radio Frequency Waves, and as I found out, surprisingly they can also communicate via satellite (if you so choose, I didn’t).

You don’t need a license to get a radio and listen to Ham Radio, but you must have a license to transmit using Ham Radio. There is an exception that allows the use of Ham Radio without a license in life/death emergency situation to call for help.

My license is categorized as a “General” license. Simply put it allows me to use a larger amount of frequency than a “Technician” might have (which is an entry level license). “Extra” license gives you all the frequencies Amateur Radio operators may operate in.

I made my first contact with voice a long time ago. From Seattle,WA area to Sacramento, CA. It was a tremendous feeling to have that freedom to talk with someone a long ways away and free too!

My first contact suggested I try digital mode communications. That is where the voice signal is converted into a digital signal, transmitted, received, and decoded back to a voice signal to be heard by the receiver.

The advantage is lesser power is required to communicate. The disadvantage is it’s comparatively slower than speech. There are many digital modes in use today but the most popular is PSK31.

I tried it for a while back then but could not make a good contact with anyone. At the time, digital mode was achieved with a string and tin cans …

I’ve since sold my initial rig (that’s what radios are called in Ham Radio) and purchased a rig that has more capabilities and has an digital audio receiver & transmitter board in it. I no longer have to create connection cables from the computer to the radio to achieve digital mode.

Equipment configuration:

  1. Yaesu FT-991A transceiver radio
  2. A BuddiPole used vertically, aka BuddiStick (40m: 2 regular arms then 2 regular coils with no taps, 2 regular whip sections out, then tune either with the radio’s internal tuner or with MFJ-269 antenna analyzer)
  3. MFJ-269 antenna tuner. I connect this to the end jack that is to connect to the radio. I use a duplexer, do not connect to the jack prior to the duplexer, the results are misleading. I set the tuner to 7.000 MHz (or whatever frequency you like) and look at the SWR meter. Pull or push on the whip section to lengthen or shorten it. The longer the whip, the lower in frequency you go and vice versa. Anyway tune the whip section until you get an SWR reading of 1.5-3. After this I let the radio’s internal tuner tune it more if necessary
  4. An alternative is to hook up the antenna and use FT0991A’s internal tuner.
  5. FLDigi software to perform encoding and decoding of the digital signal from the radio
  6. MacBook to run FLDigi on

The radio and FLDigi need to be configured as follows.

FT-991A radio SETUP using MENU/SETUP button:

BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE, CONNECT YOUR ANTENNA TO YOUR RADIO. Accidentally transmitting without an antenna could ruin your radio.

This enables the radio control:

  • 031 cat¬†rate¬† 9600bps
  • 032 cat tot 100 msec

This enables data communication (use DATA-USB mode)

  • 059 cw freq display DIRECT
  • 062 data mode OTHERS
  • 064 other¬†dsp¬†ssb¬†1500hz
  • 065 other shift¬†ssb¬†1500hz
  • 066 data lcut freq OFF
  • 068 data hcut freq OFF
  • 070 data in select REAR
  • 071 data ptt select rts
  • 072 data port select USB
  • 073 data out level 70

This enables data in FM mode (use DATA-FM mode)

  • 074 fm mic select REAR
  • 075 fm out level 70
  • 076 fm pkt ptt select RTS
  • 077 fm pkt port select USB

You also need to set the DT MAIN configuration. Press F-MList button, the press FWD on the display until you see DT MAIN. Tap it and then use the knob on the bottom right of the display, turn it to 4 first. Now set the METER setting to ALC, it will show ALC value on the top of the display, As we turn the DT MAIN knob higher, we want to see ALC only a little, turn it just until you see ALC, then turn it back one step.

Before connecting the FT-991A to the Mac, you must install USB drivers on the Mac first. These can be found at:

Once the driver is installed, you can connect the USB cable.

When you are configuring FLDigi and asked for a Device in RigCat, use the serial port named /dev/cu/SLAB_USBtoUART.

FLDigi configuration:

When you first run FLDigi it shows an FLDigi configuration wizard which walks you through the setup steps.

If you’ve already stepped through that and wondering how to run it again, whoops there isn’t a way to do so. There is actually, just run¬†Terminal which by default opens in your home folder, and run this command to be sure¬†cd ~.¬†Once you’re in your home folder issue this command¬†rm -r .fldigi that should remove the configuration folder. Close FLDigi and reopen it and the wizard should appear again.

On the other hand you might just follow the steps below to configure FLDigi.

First, fill out the Operator form from menu item Configure , then UI, then Operator, provide information about the operator, it is used for digital mode. These are optional for voice and CW operation. It is however strongly recommended for digital mode. Of specific importance are:

  • Station QTH, provide your geographic location here. I live in the vicinity of Seattle, WA. USA. So I use Seattle, WA.
  • Station locator using grid square coordinates. You can find where you are and provide the locator using this site by David K2DSL:¬†http://www.levinecentral.com/ham/grid_square.php
  • Operator Callsign. This is¬†your callsign that was assigned when your license was issued to you.
  • Antenna. This is optional, but I like to provide it as information.

Second, we configure our Audio section. You can get here from menu item Configure then Sound Card. Set checkmarks for PortAudio and Device Supports Full Duplex. Then select USB Audio CODEC for both Capture and Playback settings.

To control our radio using the FLDigi software, we select the Configure menu item, then select¬†Rig Control menu item, and then you’ll see the screen shown below.

Enter the values marked by red boxes as shown. Make sure you click Save.

For Rig Description file, get the file from here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/fldigi/files/xmls/yaesu/FT-991.xml/download

and place it in your ~/.fldigi/rigs folder, select it for Rig description file.

If you had the USB cable plugged in earlier, unplug it now, this is to reset the serial port driver on the Mac. FLDigi will sometimes not connect to the radio and you’ll see the frequency display mismatched.

  • Close the FLDigi application.
  • Connect the USB cable from the radio to the Mac.
  • Power on the radio.
  • Launch FLDigi.

If all went well, the frequency display on your radio should match the frequency display on FLDigi.

Final step is to choose the Operating mode. Use menu item Op Mode, then PSK, then BPSK-31.

The frequency that is commonly used for PSK in the 40m band is 7.080.15 MHz USB in the morning USA Pacific time. When you tune around there, you’ll hear a bunch of squealing noises that PSK31 makes. You’ll also see yellow streaks on the waterfall display. A yellow streak is one conversation going on.

Click your mouse on one of the yellow streaks and FLDigi should decode and display the conversation.

Create an AirPlay server using Raspberry Pi (Apple iTunes server clone)

I recently came across forked-daapd, forget what the name means. If you’ve ever setup your iTunes app as a music server, well this is a clone of that.

This means you can use a remote on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device to control the iTunes music server to play music on remote speakers (with the use of Apple’s Airport Express WiFi device).

I started with a scratch Raspberry Pi install, this time around I’m using the latest distribution of Raspbian named Stretch.

You can use instructions on this page to install Stretch on your Raspberry Pi:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/README.md

Once that is done, you’ll then want to install what is called a repository key. A repository is basically a server that contains applications you can install. A gpg key is a digital signature used to authenticate the repository.

The command to get the repository key is:

wget -q -O – http://www.gyfgafguf.dk/raspbian/forked-daapd.gpg | sudo apt-key add –

Then we want to add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list, make sure it is the first line in the file, otherwise it will pick up an old version of forked-daapd. This adds the repository that contains forked-daapd to our software install list before the default list so we can install the latest forked-daapd.

deb http://www.gyfgafguf.dk/raspbian/forked-daapd/ stretch contrib

Note that if you have Raspbian Jessie, you can replace the word stretch above with “jessie”.

Now we can install forked-daapd with this command, it takes about a minute or so:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install forked-daapd

Once installed, you have to configure forked-daapd’s configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/forked-daapd.conf

Look for the line that looks like: directories = { “/srv/music”}

Replace the directory “/srv/music/” with wherever you have your music located.

That’s all you have to do with this configuration file.

I have in a USB drive in a directory named “Music” so I first mount the USB drive by editing /etc/fstab file (so it’ll mount everytime the Pi reboots) like so:

/dev/sda1       /media  vfat    defaults,ro     0       0

Note I’m using /dev/sda1 which is the USB disk with the “Music” directory. Also note the “ro” parameter, it means read only so you don’t accidentally write over your music files.

Mounting the USB drive is achieved by issuing this command:

sudo mount -a

So, now you have forked-daapd installed, music mounted, time to make it work:

# start forked-daapd
sudo service forked-daapd start

# check status to see if it started successfully
sudo service forked-daapd status

You should see something like this (sorry for the blur, it’s WordPress’ doing):

Note the green text “active running” that means it is running succesfully. You can also check this file to see how forked-daapd file is doing:

sudo less /var/log/forked-daapd.log

I hope everything went well with no errors. If so, it’s time to add our remote.

For Apple devices, download the Remote app.

For Android devices, I have the best experience with TunesRemote+ app.

To pair your devices with forked-daapd use the following page, starting with Pairing with Remote on iPod/iPhone:

https://github.com/ejurgensen/forked-daapd/blob/master/README.md

With TunesRemote+ I found the pairing instructions above not working. Fortunately there is a workaround by adding the music library manually (i.e. enter the ip address of the forked-daapd server).

forked-daap has a very helpful and responsive help thread here:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=49928&hilit=forked+daapd

That’s it!

 

Raspberry Pi as a Mac OSX file server

Update 1/5/2017, I’ve made configuration adjustments to /etc/netatalk/afpd.conf (2nd section below) and /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default (third section below). I also added a section to enable the firewall.

Update 1/4/2017, previously I was unable to make this work with Samba (Windows file sharing for Linux) but after I rebuilt the Pi and followed my own instructions I was able to make this work.

This time I want my Raspberry Pi server to behave as another Mac sharing its files. It is incredibly easy. I use the latest image of Raspberry Pi Raspbian OS Jessie with PIXEL dated 2016-11-25.

First, we install netatalk (this software provides the functionality of an AFP file server used by Macs to share files).

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netatalk
sudo service avahi-daemon restart
sudo service netatalk restart

Second, I adjust the /etc/netatalk/afpd.conf file and use the following line at the end

– -tcp -noddp -uamlist uams_dhx2.so -nosavepassword -mimicmodel RackMac

Third,¬†now from my Mac’s Finder I can see my raid5 tinypute appear as a shared PC, I can click it, and “Connect As” my tinypute user “pi” using its password and connect to pi’s home directory.

Fourth,¬†if I wanted to add /mnt/raid5/storage to Mac’s file share I would edit /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default. At the end of the file add the following

/mnt/raid5/storage ¬†“RAID 5 Storage” ¬†¬†dperm:0750 fperm:0660 umask:7007

Then update the configuration of /mnt/raid5/storage so users can access it

sudo chgrp -R users /mnt/raid5/storage  #change the group to users (pi is a member of it)
sudo chmod -R ug+r+w,o-rwx /mnt/raid5/storage # change permissions (so pi can access it)

Fifth, install ufw firewall if not already

sudo apt-get install ufw
sudo ufw allow 548
sudo ufw allow 5353

Sixth, restart the whole stack

sudo service avahi-daemon restart
sudo service netatalk restart
sudo service smbd restart

That’s it!

 

Raspberry Pi 2B RAID 5 build ‚Äď Part 4 – Final

Now we install Samba which is a file sharing program for Linux, it is Linux’s implementation of the SMB file protocol used by Windows. Once installed we can connect to shared folder on the¬†tinypute from other machines.

First, install Samba:

sudo apt-get install samba
sudo apt-get install libpam-smbpass

Second, configure /etc/samba/smb.conf as follows:

# Maximum number of usershare. 0 (default) means that usershare is disabled.
usershare max shares = 100 #Uncomment this line (remove the first character “;”)

[homes]
   comment = Home Directories
   browseable = no
# By default, the home directories are exported read-only. Change the
# next parameter to ‘no’ if you want to be able to write to them.
   read only = no

Third, create a folder for users to share

sudo mkdir /mnt/raid5/storage
sudo chmod ug+rwx /mnt/raid5/storage

Fourth, configure smb to share the folder, add the following line to /etc/samba/smb.conf

[storage]
   comment = RAID 5 storage folder
   path = /mnt/raid5
   guest ok = no
   browseable = yes
   create mask = 0600
   directory mask = 0700

Restart the smbd service

sudo service smbd restart

Fifth, we install ufw (uncomplicated firewall) so we can open ports required by Samba.

sudo apt-get install ufw
sudo ufw allow 135
sudo ufw allow 137
sudo ufw allow 138
sudo ufw allow 139
sudo ufw allow 445
sudo ufw enable

Sixth, now we connect to the share we created before in /mnt/raid5 (i.e. storage folder)

Before connecting the user that will access the share must be created.

sudo smbpasswd -a pi #pi is the user that will connect to the shared folder

smbpasswd

The shared folder can be connected from another PC now.

On my Mac OSX Yosemite using Finder -> Go -> Connect To Server and enter smb://raid5/storage. A password prompt will be provided, enter as Registered User pi with the SMB password you provided before.

That’s it! New folders can be created, renamed, deleted. The same goes for files, you can edit them too.